Today at our staff meeting it was confirmed by our principal that we *will* have summer school, although only for two weeks and possibly only half-days. I'll take it!!
Of course it isn't guaranteed that I'll get a spot as one of the teachers (she wasn't sure how many teachers/assistants would be needed.) But I'm hoping I'll have a little better chance of it since I was supposed to do it last summer, but didn't get to (due to circumstances not under my control.)
I'm on the BofA advisory panel and a while back they sent out a survey that said you'd get a $5 AGC as a thank you. Today I received the AGC, and put it in my account.
I also received my 5th AGC from Swagbucks today for January. I currently have over 1100 SBs, so will easily have enough for at least the first 3 in February. I've actually qualified for a couple surveys recently (shock!!) which has definitely helped.
We might have a snow day tomorrow. That'd be nice in a way, but in another way I really hate to miss out on all my Tuesday classes. I have some new books I cataloged today with several specefic 7th graders in mind... Plus I have a set of 10 defunct keyboards for my second graders who are starting to learn keyboarding and am excited to see how well they do using the keyboards rather than the paper "computers." Oh well, it is what it is.
Thanks to the stock market in general, and specifically one particular stock I own 350 shares of .. my Net Worth is almost back to where it was in November before making my car purchase! If only it will continue!
Archive for January, 2013
Today at our staff meeting it was confirmed by our principal that we *will* have summer school, although only for two weeks and possibly only half-days. I'll take it!!
My brother is at the very beginning of this video (after the advertisement.) I've been on the train before, and I agree the food is great.
After the first payday in January when I saw that the 2% increase in SS was going to take approximately $35/mo from my net income, I decided that it was finally time to go ahead and change my W-4 withholding. So I changed it to 2.
Today was the first payday since I changed it, and changing the withholding added $60, or $120/mo. Nice. For February I think I will probably just put it towards Vacation/eating out/Baltimore trip expenses. But after that, then I'll put it all towards my car repayment. Then once my car is paid off, it all will go towards my ROTH, except maybe $25 - 30 of it which I'll add to my Fun Money or Groceries category, or perhaps my Vacation category.
In reality, it is about $85 extra a month than what I was getting in 2012. Still, it is a nice little boost which I prefer to get monthly rather than having to wait to file taxes in 2014.
I received a 1099R for my rollover IRA. The form didn't show any taxes withheld or anything, so I'm assuming that I did it correctly and it isn't going to bite me in the shorts. I might try to add it into my Turbo Tax file tonight and make sure about it.
I have received 4 of the 5 AGCs from Swagbucks for January. So far, I have managed to meet the daily goal every day. So I'll probably start February off with enough SBs to buy my first 3 cards. It'll be nice to be ahead of the game for awhile at least.
I've been watching Life on Mars on Netflix instead of doing my classwork like I should be .. It is *really* good. I don't know how I missed it before.
Both of my walking partners this week agreed to start doing the 4 mile walk again! The 2 miler we were doing most of this winter so far was barely keeping me maintained (weight wise), so I'm hoping the longer distance will help to get me moving in the right direction again. Of course it probably would help if I actually cut out soda and cut down on junk food like I keep saying I'm going to do....
Since that one night of terrible sleep, I have been sleeping better. The occasional stabs and tingles, but nothing like that one night. I'm hoping the increased level of exercise will keep any re occurrences at bay.
I made some progress today on getting a reciprocal NM teaching license. I need to go by the district office and pick up my fingerprint/background check from last summer. Then once I have all the other documentation together, write a check for $125 and send it all in. Guess it's worth it to make sure I get rehired for next year!
Today I worked with my second group of second graders introducing keyboarding. The first group on Tuesday I only used the file folder computers (which they get to take with them to practice on.) Today I had five old keyboards which I let them use, along with the file folder keyboards. That went much better! AL our IT person told me that I should be able to find 3 - 4 more defunct keyboards around campus to use (so nobody has to share.)
I have my formal evaluation scheduled for next Wednesday with my 5th grade group. We'll be doing the blogs for the first time and learning a little bit more about composition (photography.) I told my principal that we'd be learning a totally new concept (the blogs) so I had no idea how it'll go. But that the kids are easy to work with - I'm not too worried. She told me that she feels like she already has a good idea of how I do my classes from dropping in time to time, so not to worry.
I received a new statement from the credit union that has my car loan. So far I have paid $14 in interest and $386 in principal (two payments.) I have my next check set to go on Feb 11 ($850). I'd send it right now, but I want to make sure I only send one payment a month so there's no room for confusion on their part.
In the annals of bizzarity .. last night while I was watching an episode of Life on Mars, I heard an ambulance siren outside my house, and then the sounds of a vehicle backing up and parking. I wondered where it was going, so opened my door and poked my head out. It had stopped right in front of my house!! The EMT on the passenger side got out and asked me if we'd called for an ambulance. I told her that noone at my house had called for one. She just kind of shook her head and got back in.
This morning at breakfast I had several co-workers ask me about the ambulance. When I told them what happened, one of them told me I should have asked the lady what address they were looking for. Oops. At the time I wasn't thinking like that. Oh well. I hope they did find the actual person who called for them.
**This goes along with when I had the local sheriff pull up in my driveway and tell me that there'd been a noise complaint filed on my address. ?? I'd been sitting inside at my computer for the past few hours working on the computer - no music or anything. I have the feeling that it was also the case of not having the right address.
I realized today that I missed mentioning my blogaversery! 8 years! Time sure does fly, one way or the other ...
Recently I was reminded of how blessed I have been to have found this site, and how much a part of my life it has become - when the site wasn't functioning for a few days. I feel like I've come to know many of you almost like next door neighbors, and having the opportunity to meet some of you in person has made it even better!
Here's looking to the next 8 years
I cashed in for my 5th $5 SB AGC today. I also did some housework ...shock! Kari was getting anxious as I was sweeping, because that generally portends an extended absence. Not today though for a change.
I think I've figured out what I'm going to do for my final project (it keeps changing ..) AND something I might be able to sell on teachers pay teachers! I had a difficult time coming up with good material to teach the digital photography / blogging unit I'm doing with my fifth graders. So I'm going to make a website with example photos, resource links, AND a link to lesson plans and student guide in the TPT store. My professor has already approved the idea, so now most of the work will be done anyway.
Speaking of the digital photo unit, I started it with the fifth graders last week. They were pretty enthusiastic about the whole thing, although somewhat disappointed that they couldn't take the cameras home with them. Looking through the books we have in our library on taking good photos, I noticed that they are badly in need of updating. Only one of them even mentioned digital cameras, and that was in bare passing.
I also started the 6th graders on their research project on Friday - they picked an important event from the last 50 years. At first they weren't too sure about the whole thing, but once they got started, they were pretty into it. Several picked JFKs assassination, 5 picked 9/11, one picked Cheronoybl, and then there were a variety of other events chosen which I can't remember right now.
My 4th grade girls (on Friday) delved into the pile of biography books I selected and chose their famous person to study. Pocahontas, Christopher Columbus, Amelia Earhart and a few others were chosen. Much better variety than the boys ... who mostly chose Justin Bieber.
**I hadn't had media class on Friday for five weeks! Half-day before vacation, vacation, and then last week a snow day!
I had a really bad nights sleep. I just could not get comfortable - I'd be in one position for awhile and then it'd become almost painful, so would switch. I also from time to time get tingly sensations or almost barb sensations in my legs - especially the front. That was happening a lot last night. I am thinking that I might need to make an appointment with the doctor and get a check up.
I've always had problems with my feet falling asleep on me, but the tingly/barb sensations have only started in the last 6 months or so - but never as bad as they were last night. I'm hoping it's just stress related, and not blood sugar or something else .. I do think I'm about ready to give up sugar, or at least to reduce it greatly. I ate a lot of junky food yesterday.
Today on the way into town for church, my gas indicator reached the final little cell and started blinking about 12 miles from the first exit with a good gas station. I got there, and filled up for $2.95/gallon (much better than the $3.09/gallon in my mini town, but NOT better than the $2.82/gallon I saw on the road to church later!!) ~$31.xx -- first fill up in January
After church I debated whether I should hold off on my grocery shopping til Sunday, or go ahead with it. I figured all I was going to pick up was some OJ and a few treats, so not worth making a second trip.
Umm.... $90 later .... Admittedly, $34 of that figure was replacement shoes for my good dress winter shoes which were falling apart .. but still ... that's a lot of OJ and treats. (OJ, bread, bananas, granola bars, junk food, sweet potatoes, etc...) This will of course be my only grocery trip for January, other than visiting the small mom and pop place in mini town for bananas (and egg salad sandwiches when they're in stock!)
Next up was Walgreen's to get my prescription. I contemplated going inside so I could pick up a jar of Nutella (something I wanted at Walmart, but the only small jar they had had a cracked lid - nope!) However, I decided I'd got enough junky food and did not need to spend any more money on food. So ... $24 for the prescription.
Then tonight I got an email from Choice Privileges which reminded me that I needed to decide whether I was going to stay in a hotel on the 14th before heading out to Baltimore, or hoof it out the morning of the 15th. Looking at the time of my morning flight -- 10:45, and thinking about leaving the house around 6 a.m. .... and then paying $24 to park my car.. I decided to see what I could come up with for a hotel.
I found a hotel with airport shuttle service, free Wi-Fi, a very good comp. breakfast, and Park & Fly service for a total of approximately $60. I think it's the same place I've stayed at before, but it has changed its name for whatever reason. This way I'll have a good nights sleep, a good breakfast, and not have to worry about parking in a tight space in one of those shuttle lots. (Parking was a nightmare last time - I had to have someone guide me into the space .. and I have a tiny car.)
If I leave right after my last class on Thursday, I can be in ABQ by 5 at the latest, and maybe enjoy a nice dinner somewhere (esp. somewhere that can't be found in big G!)
I almost have enough SBs for my 5th $5 AGC this month. I have met the goal now 19/19 days. My plan is to hit the goal 31/31. This will give me ample SBs to go into Feb with, esp. since for 5 days the most I'll be able to get is with the mobile SBTV app and a few search wins.
My $10 from GymPact hit my Paypal account. I've emailed them to ask for a way to add a referral link into blog posts rather than have to post it on a person's FB wall. So far, I haven't heard back.
All of us teachers were given notice - get our NM certification transfers started or completed ... or no new contract. Gulp. I keep procrastinating on doing this .. but must stop! I doubt the NM ed dept. will be open on Monday. I've tried to figure out if I'll still have my TX licenses in addition, or if those will be gone? I don't see why I'd lose the TX licensees ... but stranger things do happen - esp. in education.
I am GLAD for this 3 day weekend. I know we've only been back in school for two weeks (and not even that, with a snow day and two two-hour delays ...) but I am READY for the extra time off. (Of course, I *really* need to use that time wisely - i.e. working on my electives assignments and my final project ... time is moving fast!)
I signed up with this presentation site a month or so ago thinking I might be able to use it as part of my final project. Tonight I got an email from them saying that if I create a presentation with certain details, that I will be given a $50 AGC!!!! It has to be made by 1/23rd. It is only for new users who receive the email, so I don't know if anyone else could get the same email, but if your interested in trying ... here's the website: presentation tube net
I really must be addicted to this site ... I kept checking ALL DAY LONG, cleared cookies, checked on my computer at work, at home, my iPhone, my iPad ... considered emailing Jeffrey ...
** Yesterday I managed to pull up the recent blogs, but was only able to make comments go through on two of them.
So glad it is back up!!
My GymPact payment went through PayPal today! Also received the 2nd $5 AGC from Swagbucks, and am about 100 away from my next one. Redeemed for a $5 AGC from Irazoo yesterday.
We had a two-hour delay today, and are having another one tomorrow -- both due to the temperature. It was something like -5 when I arrived at school today at ..9:30!! Tonight/early am is supposed to be as cold. Yikes!
I just barely finished doing the evaluations of proposals for the next AASL convention (School librarians.) I had something like 25 of them. It was really pretty cool to get to see some of the possible programs. There was one I was especially excited about because the presenters are two bloggers that I've followed for a while.
I showed my 7th and 8th graders a cool presentation site this week - meograph.com. It turns a boring presentation into something very fun and interesting. A number of them are trying it out for their final presentations.
I've had some interesting conversations the past few days with our 5th grade teacher. He's wet under the ears (maybe 22 or 23??) He was first really upset about the idea that next school year his pay will be divided by 26 instead of 22. Then he was upset about the 2% "raise" in SS tax. Today we were talking in the cafeteria (before morning prayers) about good places to do your taxes yourself, and about how many deductions are good to take, and why you want to NOT get a lot of money back in a refund. I also made sure he knew about the educator credit - he was worried about taking it since he didn't have receipts ... somehow I don't think the IRS is NOT going to believe that a teacher spent $250 on classroom supplies within a year's time ... I spent more than twice that my last year in the classroom when I VOWED to NOT spend so much ... Isn't he lucky to be around all these ol' fogies who know a thing or two about handling money?
On Thursday along with our paycheck stubs we also got our W-2's! All of us were pretty impressed to get it so quickly.
Friday turned out to be a snow day, so I decided to get on Turbo Tax and do a test run of my taxes for this year. The only thing I couldn't figure out how to account for was the sale of stock (and resultant Capital loss of about $35) and my 401k rollover into a Traditional IRA. I'm assuming I'll get whatever documents I'll need for those in the next month or so - but neither one will have much affect on my taxes (I don't think at least ..)
So, in the end, it looks like I'll be getting a tax refund in the realm of $2,100! Sweet! About half of that is from W-2 overpayment, and the other half is a combination of Lifetime Learning Credit and my contribution to the Traditional IRA (not related to the Rollover.)
On Monday I do plan to get the form in to the main office to make my deductions to 2. This will amply cover the approximately $20/mo from the 2% SS tax and give me a little more to work with for other goals throughout the year. I thought about raising it to 3, but there is a possibility of some good income this summer, so I don't want to press my luck too much.
What is that good income possibility, you might ask? Well, it appears that we might be able to have summer school again this year!! (We had thought that it wasn't going to happen due to funding cuts, but it might just happen!) If it does, then that *could* mean an approximate $3k boost. Yes!
Now you may be wondering why I mentioned car pay off? Well, I was working the figures out and I realized that I could have the car paid off by:
August - by putting all tax refund and the next 2 3rd paychecks towards it...
by June - by putting all tax refund, next 2 3rd paychecks AND using part of the Summer School money to finish it off.
Either way, from my calculations I *will* be able to meet ALL of my financial goals for 2013, and possibly exceed them! With the summer school money, I am thinking that after paying off the car loan, I would put 1/3 to my EF, 1/3 to my FIRE fund, and 1/3 to my Vacation fund.
It made me extremely happy to see that it is a STRONG possibility to have this car paid off in much less than a year.
I have now met the SB daily goal for 12 days, and cashed in for my 2nd $5 AGC today for January. I figured out that if I meet the goal every day for January, and then get the 300 SB bonus, that it is worth 8 $5 AGC, which of course puts me into February. I can handle that.
A thought just occurred to me. When I did the rollover of my 401k from my old company, I received a check. It was made out to the company I had opened an account with AND me. When I'd checked the balance a short time earlier, it was around $5500.00. When I received the check, it was for just over $5k. I chalked it up to maybe a big dip in what it was invested in, but now I'm wondering if it was a 10% penalty?? If it was somehow counted as an indirect rollover? At the time this happened, I was not in a good head space dealing with my dad's death, etc., but only had less than a week from the time I received the letter telling me I HAD to do something with it ... so I'm worried that I might be getting hit with a big tax hit. What I've read online is confusing - one place I read said that if you received a check at all, then it is considered an indirect rollover (if you don't add the withheld money to it.) Another place I read that for either indirect or direct you get a check - just have to get it deposited within 60 days.
Should I be worried???
Today I was credited for last weeks pact, which put me over the $10 mark. According to the app I should receive my money by tomorrow!
My door was frozen shut AGAIN today! We need to figure out how to make that NOT happen, because I'd really like to be able to get in on the weekend when the computer lab isn't open...
The cookbooks I bought about a month ago or so which we're such a big hit with the kids? Well today I had the fifth grade teacher and his assistant negotiating who was going to check out which one. Then when we went to the computer lab for the kids to work on their projects, they were going through one of them and I heard one say, "this is the one I checked out - you got your own!"
I also introduced the book Wonder by Palacios (sp?) today to the fifth graders. Lots of lit up eyes - especially after I mentioned that if they liked the book The One And Only Ivan, that they'd really like this one. I may need to get a few extra copies of this one judging from their interest level...
My Kinders finished recording their book today. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop. I need to add some kind of picture to the title page, and then I'll share it here with you too. It is really cute.
I couldn't sleep last night, so I watched a newly added b-disaster flick called Post Impact on Netflix. It was pretty good overall.
It got pretty warm here today - nearly in the 40's although its supposed to be really chilly this weekend with highs in the low 20's. Brrr!
I talked to our payroll person today, and figured out why my YTD on the pay stub was so weird. Last year (first six months of 2012) I was still being paid at the higher first year rate ( pay divided by 22 instead of 26) I don't know why I didn't think of that! She also told me that I can just inter office memo her my updated w-4 deductions form - which is good because it is hard to get to the main office before they close.
I know I shouldn't let this get to me, but this particular person is annoying in general, and this just took the cake after an especially busy day.
Me, the 3rd grade teacher and the Title 1 teacher were all standing outside waiting for the busses to leave this afternoon. 3rd grade teacher asked me if I was planning to walk this p.m. I told her no, that I needed to get too much done tonight to make up for what I didn't get done last night (feeling really yucky again last night.) Title 1 teacher butts in and says, "Oh, you weren't feeling good?" I tell her that no, I wasn't - and that I hadn't all of last week, and still wasn't. But that I figured if I still wasn't feeling 100% after a week of laying pretty low, that taking one or two days off from work wasn't going to help.
She then says to me, "Well, that depends on what the work is. If all you're doing is shelving books ..Shelving books seems like it would be such a relaxing activity." Seriously?!!! The only reason the books get shelved most days is because of my awesome assistant! Last year I'd only get them shelved if I stayed after school - the kids were very used to looking on the book cart for books that hadn't been put away yet ..
Most days - but especially Monday, Tuesday and Friday, I am running from the time I arrive until the time I leave. No, I don't have classes scheduled throughout the entire day - with very good reason! I just need to remember *who* the comment came from (she's not very well regarded by most of the staff here ...) Still, it was very annoying.
End of vent.
Today something kind of funny/cool happened. I had the 7th grade girls working on their research project (they got to choose their own topic.) After they'd worked hard for 30 minutes, I told them they could have the last ten minutes for free choice time. Of the 7 girls, only two of them stopped working on their project. I was duly impressed. One of the girls said as she was leaving later that her fingers sure were cramped up after doing so much typing (nearly 40 minutes of it!) I told her that was pretty normal and to shake her fingers out.
Another funny .. My second graders had started a PowerPoint project where they were making a slideshow telling about what they wanted for Christmas. Due to a variety of circumstances, we hadn't gotten very far on it. I figured after two weeks out that they'd forgotten about it .. and of course it wasn't really relevant anymore .. so had something else planned entirely. Their teacher (as she dropped them off) asked me if I could have them do a short research project next week. Then I saw that they had all brought their sticky note list (of what they wanted) with them ... So I improvised, and we worked on our project! (I was impressed with how much they'd retained from nearly 3 weeks ago - especially since this was their first introduction to PP.)
Oh, remember those cut away books I got at Costco in TX? (dinosaur and shark) They were HUGE hits. I had to come up with some creative measures to decide who got to check them out first.
I just cashed out for another $5 AGC from SB. (to make this a little bit financial related...)
I am actually feeling a bit better tonight, so hopefully I'm on the mend. And hopefully I'll get more sleep tonight than I have the past two nights. It's not affecting me adversely yet, but if I don't get a better night's sleep soon, it probably will. I just have to get my mind to shut off ...
Oh! I almost forgot another funny! This morning when I went to open the library door, I found that it was frozen shut! I was able to unlock it, but it wouldn't budge. I ended up going in through the computer lab, and then later the maintenance man came by and pulled it open with one nice big pull. When it warmed up later we figured out why it had frozen over like that -- had lots of water dripping off the roof right over the door.
I got my last paystub for 2012 yesterday. When looking at it, the total YTD would be right for 27 payments, but not for 26. I was paid every other Thursday .. so that would only be 26 paydays, right?? I plan on calling our payroll person tomorrow to clarify - want to have that fixed before they submit my W-2!!
My January car payment was mailed out yesterday. Another $200 down. It got sent out before I remembered to cancel it so I could add the additional $600. I'll probably just wait til the February payment to do the big payment.
Well today went pretty well overall. A good number of our staff was sick over the break. I'm still not feeling well, but if a week of pretty much laying low hasn't helped, then one more day won't do much.
I had the Kinders record their sentences about snow today. After the Wednesday group records theirs as well, I'll post a link to it. So cute. their teacher told me that the group I had came back SO excited about getting to be recorded. Just wait till they get to hear themselves (I'm trying to slowly convince the kinder teacher that K can do tech too...)
I felt really bad for our 5th grade teacher. He got back midnight on Thursday to find that his pilot light had gone out, thereby freezing his pipes - which caused his bathroom faucet to break and start spraying water. His bathroom was flooded, and his wall opposite with lots of kid notes/drawings was soaked, and the carpet in his bedroom too. What a mess to come home to.
YNAB is looking for an online teacher. The hours could be anywhere from 2 - 12 week. I have the link on my other computer, but you probably could find it in the blog too.
(I'd go for it, but just don't have the time for it right now. If only it had opened up in April!)
I've met the daily goal on SB now for 6 days in a row. I was really hoping today's goal would be a small one - but nope, 110. Ugh. So I'm doing SBTV On both my phone and my computer and doing my web surfing on the iPad. When what I'd really like to do right now is go to bed..
Tomorrow we have an at home game (basketball). I really try to go to them when they aren't on a Friday or Saturday. I don't know if I'm going to be able to make this one though - if I'm still feeling so sick to my stomach tomorrow. Ugh.
Does anyone know of a prescription allergy medicine with decongestant that is still available? Allegra-D is what worked for me for YEARS, but now that its over the counter only, I can only get 10 days at a time AND its way more expensive - ten days is more than I paid for 30 days of the generic version.
The joke books I got at the Schol warehouse sale were a big hit, as I bet they'd be. I'd bought the next two books in a series we have that I thought one of my 8th grade girls really liked .... Glad I got them at a discount- because when I showed it to her today I got the " ugh, that series was so boring - I couldn't make it past the first few pages." Oops. Of course a different 8th grade girl was very happy about the new Bluford High book I got ... So you win some and you lose some.
At our staff meeting today it was decided that we would have a Mardi Gras party instead of a Valentine's Day party due to Lent starting on Feb 13. The kids will still be allowed to exchange cards, just no party. I'm learning new nuances of Lent all the time. Before I came here I knew about it, and I knew about some of the stipulations of it, but had never seen anyone take part in it. Interesting..
I changed my GymPact for this week to only 4. Right now I'm wishing I'd put it to two. Oh well, I'll manage. Once I have the ~$12 in my PayPal, ill probably be twice as motivated.